Monday, January 26, 2009

Christian or not? or what?

Some of you will know exactly what I'm talking about and some of you won't.

I'm not judging anyone for their choices or beliefs, I did enough if that when I was holier than thou.

Over the past few days I've been talking with others who are on this same path.

For the past few years I have been undoing what 10 years in the church did to me.

It wasn't all bad and I'm not badmouthing anyone in particular.

I have come full circle I guess, I have gone back to the beliefs of my youth.

I believe in God, I believe in creation, I believe in prayer and I believe that God hears me.

I don't need to go to church to believe.

Sometimes he answers too.

I always prayed when I was younger, I wasn't living in a manner that some would call a believer.

No matter where I was or what was going on I knew that God loved me and he was watching out for me.

In 1994 I was baptized and attended the Church of Christ for 10 years. I went through many changes, I also had 4 kids during that time. I learned alot about the Bible and heard many a man preach the gospel.

I became the *perfect Christian* remember when I do something I do it *right*

I also lost a little bit of myself by trying to be something I wasn't. I also looked down on the weak, judged people, I even went up against my grandpa about baptism being essential for salvation. He was the most *christian* person I have ever known and I was telling him like it was.

Anyway I have come to the conclusion that I'm really not a christian anymore. Not in some manmade idea of christianity. I don't prescribe to any religion or teachings or thou shalt nots.

I believe in relationship with God, he created me, he knows me, he loves me.

If a christian just was someone who believes in Christ that would be fine but it's turned into this whole religion and churchianity. Christians are not all nice and fuzzy, some are downright judgmental.

So I am continuing on this journey called life trusting in my creator and praying a lot.


Tammy said...

I agree with you Steph -- my mom proclaims to be a 'good Christian.' Enough said.

Sandra Dodd said...

I like the word "churchianity." Good one!

It seems fuzziness would be a sin.

I have a wild-living good-hearted friend who teaches Sunday school at a Church of Christ. :-)

I grew up very Baptist, and though I do miss the music sometimes, much of what I heard and saw seems bizarre in retrospect, like memories I suspect I might have made up because it's too weird to have been real. But all around me are people with the same bizarre experiences, so I'm sure it happened. There really WERE "sword drills" where we raced to find Bible verses and I usually "won." And 99 other little grotesqueries. But great music.

I take a kind of anthropological view of religion. Potentially hazardous summary, and in most people's lives thoughts can't hurt, but in a good Christian's life thoughts can be sins. Sheesh. There's humor there, but potentially sinful-thought-inducing humor. Beware.

Wendy @ WMF said...

I know exactly where you are coming from. I am growing more and more disillusioned with my church. I have to admit I have mainly continued going strictly for social reasons.
I went through some counseling at my church (I'm bipolar) that in retrospect was down right harmful.

Tina said...


I know we've spoken of this before. Us and many others.

You know, we unchurched years ago. I just couldn't bring myself to jump on that merry go round any longer.

I'm content and at peace with my decision.

The funny thing is... the more I stay away and keep away, the more people seem to be joining me.

What does that really say about religion??

Anonymous said...

i am so hearing you---

i was raised mormon and as a teenager had issues with the whole idea that a loving god would send a child to be tortured and killed because all the creation sinned

about 7 years ago i attended a christian church and really understood the difference between the two but it did not change my core beliefs

i think we all have a life chart/path that takes un in many directions and that there is no sin or need for a savior that we can all act morally without a religion-

Donna said...

I'm with Sandra, "churchianity" is a great word. I may steal it (giving you all the credit of course ; )

I still haven't completely reconciled what my beliefs are. Although I haven't been in church in over a year, and hate to say it, but it feels better than when I was going. I was always afraid I was doing "it" wrong or that I would be found out, that I was not like "them". Like I've said before, I am too "Christian" for my non-religious friends, and not Christian enough for my Christian friends. Can't seem to win anywhere, except with you Steph : )

lydia said...

How 'bout just "believer"?
I too have left the organized church, and like Donna am happier (well mostly) than when I went, I too got counseling at my church like Wendy, 'cept for different reasons, and yup it was more harmful than helpful.
The problem with church lies in the teaching people what they need to do for God, and how they need to live etc, and that they still try to live according to the law and not the New Covenant of GRACE..... and not on a wonderful relationship with the most amazing Creator Father ever!!
I don't think God likes religion either............religion is passive, and judgemental and self righteous, all things God hates!!
You are in a good place, just keep believing, cause that is the only thing that counts!!! Only believe!!

Stephanie said...

This is one of the times that I don't know if I should reply here or write another post. Sometimes I answer people by email if I have their address.

Thank you for the comments. I know others feel this way and it's important to talk about it.

I don't think I came up with churchianity, I've used it before but I think I've seen it somewhere else. It is a great word though.

Deanna said...

You know, I have a hunch that if we had stayed in the church tradition I grew up in (Assembly of God) I'd be right there with you. The guilt, judgment and condemnation that permeates certain denominations must truly grieve God. I really don't think He means for us to live that way.

David and I chose, many years ago, to attend what some Christians view as a way-too-liberal church (PCUSA) but we have determined that we are more comfortable being among the more conservative members of a liberal church than the most liberal in a conservative church. Does that make sense?

All I know is that we have lots of wonderful, loving friends in our church and no one bats an eye at the fact that we like to dress up like pirates and listen to our friends perform rock and roll in a bar on Bourbon Street. Hell, they even asked us to lead a young adults fellowship group. ;)

jen said...

Very interesting post! My husband and I both grew up in the Church of Christ (and everyone from both of our extended families still attend) and it took us YEARS to heal and recover and "un-learn" everything from that experience. We didn't go to church at all for probably 10 years, and for a long time I wasn't interested in going back.

We very recently started going to church again... a huge, happy, non-denominational church with a great rock band :-)

Most of our family thinks we're going to hell because we go to a church with instrumental music and women servers and a Starbucks... and that's exactly the kind of judgement that made us finally walk away in the first place.

I am glad for you that you are happy and peaceful where you are in your own relationship with God.

Hannah K said...

Two or three years ago I read Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola, and that really changed everything, it felt like my mind was turned inside out and upside down. I haven't been going to church for months now, I find that a religious environment is very suffocating to me.
I have read "So You Don't Want to Go To Church Anymore" by Wayne Jacobsen and Dave Coleman.
"He Loves Me" by Wayne Jacobsen.
"A Man Like No Other" by Wayne Jacobsen, Brad Cummings, and Murry Whiteman. I have really enjoyed them and they have been really helpful with this journey. I also really enjoy listening to the God Journey podcasts.

This journey is really hard and sometimes painful, I am starting to learn that Papa loves me and he just wants me to learn to rest in his love.